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Mozambique is Turtle-y Awesome

3 min read

Updated 01 May 2022

A mosaic of images of a baby turtle, snorkellers and an island.
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Picture of Chris McIntyre

By Chris McIntyre

Managing Director
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*A version of this article originally appeared in the May 2022 Bush Telegraph newsletter. You can read our recent newsletters and sign-up to receive these in your inbox on our Bush Telegraph newsletter page.

Blessed with palm-fringed beaches and almost impossibly blue Indian Ocean waters, Mozambique’s tropical islands are home to some of Africa’s finest beach retreats and marine parks.

In southern Mozambique, the five islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago sit within an impressive marine park. Formed of pale, sloping sands that dip gently into the warm waters, a handful of beautiful lodges nestle under the shade of wild orange and cashew trees, all just a snorkel away from kaleidoscopic coral reefs. It’s an idyllic location. But our travellers are not the only ones enjoying the halcyon setting; turtles are relishing life in the marine park too.

After 20 years of monitoring turtles, Mozambique has just recorded its highest ever number of turtle hatchlings in the archipelago, no less than 4,219 successful hatchlings from 72 nests. It’s particularly good news that turtles from all five species found in the Western Indian Ocean (Green, Loggerhead, Leatherback, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley) were among the hatchlings.

The sight of tiny turtles scurrying across the sand from their nests to the ocean’s lapping waves is irresistibly appealing. Despite their small size (around 6cm), they are tireless in their determination to reach the water. Using a caruncle – a sharp, keratin ‘egg-tooth’ which extends from the upper jaw and falls off shortly after birth – they split the eggshell and use the movement of their flippers to dig themselves out of their sandy nests in a mass effort. Often leaving their nests under cover of darkness, to avoid predators and the heat of the day, hatchlings have an inbuilt compass and navigate by moonlight towards the horizon. As adults, they will ultimately return to within 50 miles of their birthplaces to breed again. With effective protection and monitoring firmly in place on these islands, this year’s hatchlings should have a safe space to return to in years to come and Mozambique’s rich waters will host these magnificent creatures in growing numbers.

For a chance to snorkel and dive with turtles, dolphins and a myriad of reef fish, or to simply indulge in lazy days relishing gourmet picnics on desert islands and sailing dhows in search of humpback whales, have a look at our tempting Bazaruto beach retreats: they are the epitome of luxury beach holidays.

If you’ve been inspired and want to find out more, give us a call or enquire now to speak to an expert.


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